Friday, July 22, 2011

To be PC or Not PC.

Well that IS a question! In the interest of transparency and keeping folks connected to the agricultultural process we have decided to drop our political correctness. In order for you to enjoy that Grass Fed and Finished Steak or Lamb Chop, Killer Bacon or bird an animal must give up its life. Dr. T said it very clearly, "We Harvest and Process Crops, We Slaughter animals". Another friend said that the words Harvest and Process sounded more Factory than the actual Kill and cut. Ok Ya'll win! If the USDA uses the term slaughter, and the custom guy calls it a Kill then we're goin' to quit candy coating things. I always thought that the term Harvest clouded the facts but went along with it because thats what everyone wanted to hear and the image of the bucolic setting is more appealing than the fact that we go out in the field and put a bullet in that steers brain to bring dinner to your table. My friend Meg Brown caught some heat for showing photos of a Field Kill on her blog and It wasn't from consumers! Cargill opened their Slaughter Facility to Oprah and the industry actually benefitted from the experience. I rant and rave all the time about transparency, yet sit right here and candy coat the facts. No more my friends! It is what it is and you NEED to know where your food comes from and how it gets to your plate.
On that note, Our next Field Kill will be in about 3 weeks weather permitting and anyone that wants to attend is welcome. Email me or message via facebook for date, time and directions. Cameras are encouraged. We will not be killing if the temperature is above 80 degrees so it will be EARLY in the day. Animals slaughtered in high teperatures are under undue stress and this has a negative impact on the carcass and the quality of the meat that comes from that animal. If you've ever experienced meat from a 'dark cutter" or PSE pork you know all too well what stress can do to an animal. Many of us don't kill during the extreme heat of summer for just this reason. Cattle, Sheep and especially hogs are very sensitive to heat and literally stop gaining. They spend that energy staying cool. Cattle and sheep will "brush up" during the day, finding shade and conserving energy, Pigs like a shady mud hole. Hauling any livestock in high temperatures is a hazard and we personally move everything at night or before 8am to keep the stress levels low. If animals have to be transported long distances the potential for trouble multiplies exponentially. This is another reason that we don't raise hogs commercially here. Mr Phillips does a better job than we could ever hope to do and is only 30 miles from the USDA kill plant. for us it's a 300 mile haul. Remember to ask your farmer or rancher who does their work for them. If the slaughter facility is more than an hour away ask how EXACTLY the transport is done. 90 percent of custom butchers come directly to the farm or ranch to dispatch that animal. If it is "processed" more than 100 miles from the place it was supposed to be raised ask why and make sure that the answer is truthful. We are lucky to be able to lease grazing lands close to us, some others aren't so lucky and their stock ranges far from their home location. This is not a bad thing at all, but that farmer or rancher needs to tell you where and how your meat was raised. Another thing to consider is the FACT that all grass based meats are NOT created equal, but that's a rant best left for another day!

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